Top 10 Tips to reduce your fuel usage if you need to drive.
Living on the Big Island where steep hills and a lack of public transportation means that I find myself with little alternative options for my commute. I must also mention that I’m lazy and addicted to driving my own car. However, I am determined to make sure that as part of my kuleana to keep Hawaii’s air and water clean, I wholeheartedly take on the Kanu Hawaii Energy Challenge and will reduce my fuel use by 25% during Transportation Week.
With gas prices topping $5/gallon just a month ago in some parts of the island, there were many people on the island that were aggressively looking at ways to reduce their fuel usage. This is especially so for our million drivers that demand they commute and cruise around with monster trucks. All joking aside, a few of us efficiency geeks got together and started thinking of what would be the best way to reduce fuel usage if we must use a car or truck to get around. Our team has compiled a list of tips for all you drivers out there to hit your Kanu Challenge goals. And oh yes, if you don’t believe that driving habit change can have an impact on your fuel reduction goals, consider the fact that Hawaii Electric Light Company, the local power utility here on the Big Island implemented a driver monitoring program to check on variables like speed, routes, distances, etc and was able to reduce their fuel usage by 17%! Good luck my fellow Kanu paddlers!
Tip 1: Lose weight. Good for your health and car. If you can lose weight on your body and reduce weight of the stuff you have in your car or truck, you’ll use a lot less fuel. So take out that monster tool box, the extra case of beer, etc from the trunk if you aren’t going to use it.
Tip 2: Monitor how you drive. There are various monitoring devices (image is of one that is made right here in Hawaii by Ecometric Technologies) that can be plugged into your car’s OBDII (on board diagnostic port 2) that can monitor your speed, fuel usage and other variables. When you install on of these devices, you will instantly see how both hard acceleration and speed can drastically increase how much fuel you use. Keeping one of these monitors on while you drive will help you change your driving habits...and you might even save a life, as a efficient driver is a safer driver.
Tip 3: Inflate tires properly. Self explanatory and why Team Kanu went to the Capitol last year and voluntarily checked and inflated under inflated tires.
Tip 4: Plan trip better. I plan so well, I go into town no more than once a week. If you can get 3 or more errands in one trip, you are doing well.
Tip 5: Don’t idle (doesn’t apply if you drive a hybrid). If you know you will be idling for at least 30 seconds, turn off your engine. This is assuming you know your car will start up again.
Tip 6: Windows up after 35 MPH. The drag from wind entering your vehicle at higher speeds is a...drag on your fuel economy. If you have to cool yourself down, turn on the A/C at higher speeds and follow tip 7 below.
Tip 7. Cycle A/C. There are times when you just need to run the A/C. Maybe you’re melting like an ice cube panicing over a missed deadline or it’s just another hot day in paradise. If you must turn it on, then limit the amount of time the compressor is running. You can love 4-5 MPG just by running the A/C so turn it on when you are coasting or going downhill and cycle it off when you are accelerating or going uphill.
Tip 8: Beaded seat cover. Ever ride the taxi or have been in SE Asia? You’ll notice that lots of drivers use a beaded seat cover. That isn’t for looks or a cultural reason, these guys are trying to keep their butts cool and a cool butt means a more comfortable you.
Tip 9: Keep car well maintained. Like any piece of machinery with moving parts, maintenance and regular lubrication is important for the health of your vehicle and that means that your car will run with less friction and more efficiently.
Tip 10: Listen to slow music like slack key. Kī ho`alu with Gabby Pahinui is surely going to make you feel more relaxed driving than Eminem. For the same reason they play fast music at all you can eat buffets, fast music means fast driving and fast gas guzzling. Live aloha, listen aloha and drive aloha.
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